Suspense keeps viewers ‘Awake’

Clay (Hayden Christensen) is brought in to surgery where he will begin the struggle for his life. Awake, in theaters now, is driven by big acting and bigger suspense.By Jess Royko

Thousands of people go under anesthesia every year, and an unfortunate few suffer what is called “anesthetic awareness.” These people are fully conscious but completely paralyzed. Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) experiences this same dilemma in Awake.

In the film, Clay’s heart surgery starts like any other procedure, but luck is not on Clay’s side as it quickly turns into a conspiracy with many twists along the way. The surgery that is supposed to save his life soon causes a struggle for his survival.

Awake is a gripping psychological thriller that will leave viewers in shock as the complex story unfolds. The concept of the movie is very chilling and entices viewers with its many subplots. Not only is Clay fighting for his life, but his new wife, Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba), is struggling to make amends with Clay’s mother, Lilith (Lena Olin), while also dealing with her own personal issues. The subplots are constructed in an understandable fashion so that viewers can follow the flow of the movie. Awake is a captivating movie that grabs the attention of viewers from beginning to end.

The incredible performances of the actors are what really make the movie shine. However, Christensen (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) can’t quite hold his own against the other actors. Christensen is often monotone and lacks the emotional qualities a dying man should have. To give him credit, Christensen is at his best when on screen with Alba. Their palpable on-screen chemistry is not only enticing but also very realistic.

Olin also does a great job of portraying the grief-stricken mother who will go to any length to protect her son. While her character seems very unlikable in the beginning, viewers can easily warm up to her by the end.

Where Christensen falls short, Alba succeeds and steals the show. Alba (Sin City) executes her multi-faceted role in an incredible fashion and puts on an excellent performance. Not only is Alba playing the role of an upset and concerned wife, but also the role of a comforting daughter-in-law, as well as a friend and more. Alba is able to appeal to viewers on an emotional level.

The visual effects aren’t that realistic, which thankfully makes the movie less gory than predicted. They also tend to take away from the realistic aspect of the movie, leading to a detachment between viewers and Clay’s ordeal. Even though they are not as stunning as one would expect, the visual effects still manage to add to the movie’s intriguing concept.

There are many unforeseen circumstances that lead to incredible revelations throughout the entire movie. Awake is a disturbing tale of one of the many things that can go wrong during a surgery, and even borders on the point of terrifying. While the movie is unsettling at times, it still maintains an interesting overall appeal. The outstanding performances of the actors, mainly Alba, are what really make this movie enticing. With all of the unexpected events that occur and the unpredictable ending, Awake presents one message loud and clear: Nothing is ever as it seems.

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